Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Happy Cesarean Awareness Month!
In honor of Cesarean Awareness Month we are introducing our new Inland Empire ICAN Co-Leaders, Andie Geyer and Autumn McClees, by sharing their birth stories with you.

 If you are not familiar with ICAN (International Cesarean Awareness Network) these stories will help to reveal the importance of having a place for women to receive support in recovering from a Cesarean, assisting those who are seeking a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean) and educating women about avoiding an unnecessary Cesarean Birth.  Today's post features Andie's story.

Birth! As natural and common as it is, it always amazes me how complex and unique each experience can be.  In January 2008, I delivered my first little miracle via Cesarean section at Pomona Valley Hospital in Pomona, California.

Having been a “newbie” venturing into the world of pregnancy, I wobbled along eating what I wanted and watched my hands and feet getting chubbier. Hearing most people tell me how “cute” I was, I thought all was well not realizing that my body was slowly poisoning itself from the inside out. It wasn’t until after a night of terrible chest pain and several interludes with the porcelain throne, did I know something was not right. I rushed to the hospital and found that I was losing the battle against Eclampsia

Thus, at 9:38p.m, at 29 weeks of gestation, Emily Isabella was pulled from my womb with just the slightest sound. Her tiny, immature lungs tried out the concept of breathing before being filled with a plastic tube. 

"I rushed to the hospital on a Sunday night and found that I was losing the battle against Eclampsia."

Almost 4 years later I was ready to try this again! Surely this time it would be different and I would finally get to experience what I felt as my God given right as a woman. Even with a diagnosis of Gestational Diabetes, I ate right, I exercised, and I even took those birth classes that every “newbie” seemed to be so fond of. As a natural nerd and lover of books, I engulfed myself with knowledge. I wanted to know EVERYTHING I needed to know about VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Cesarean). I was arming myself with all the tools I would need to make this birth seamless, effortless, and most importantly possible! The best tool in my arsenal was my doula, and together we ran through game plans and ideas like two coaches planning a big game. As we waited together at EVERY one of my OB appointments we would discuss the “what if’s” and go over ways to make labor go smoothly. On a Monday in December 2011, my due date being that Friday, I was scheduled for what was probably going to be my last OB appointment (in my mind anyway).  
I was determined to make this baby come and pronto! As I drove with confidence, I called my doula and told her to sit this one out, I had this! Reflecting back, THAT decision will be my ultimate regret! As I sat in the chair I had sat in tons of time before, with monitors strapped to my belly, I was thinking “Boy, I am not going to miss these Stress testing, boring!!” I was redirected to the ultrasound room (as always) and I waited patiently as the Dr. (not my OB, he was on vacation!) browsed my womb like he was diligently looking things up on eBay. As I sat up and pulled down my shirt, the Dr. begins to tell me what I “thought” I was prepared to hear and combat, after all I had been prepping and gearing up like a soldier for this very situation hadn’t I? He proceeds to tell me that my daughter was looking really “big” via the ultrasound and that delivering her vaginally would not only be negligent on my part but could also prove fatal to one or both of us! What!? Yes, seeing as I had “delivered” at 29 weeks before, my uterus and the scar it wielded wasn’t as strong as it should be in other VBAC cases! Well this was certainly one play in the playbook I hadn’t gone over. I mean I knew they would pull the “your uterine wall may rupture” card but I hadn’t expected for him to give me such a colorful reason. 

"What the heck, Mom?!  I wasn't ready!!"
I consider myself a pretty intelligent woman. I have a college degree. Reading books for knowledge is my absolute favorite thing. I know lots of different things on lots of different topics. But the one thing I know for sure, the exact moment when anyone (yes, even educated medical doctors) scare you into thinking your baby may DIE . . . at that moment EVERYTHING you think you know, EVERYTHING you have prepared for seems to fade and the most important task at hand (in your mind anyway) is to get that baby out in whatever way the medical doctors see fit. I went from Confident Pregnant Warrior Goddess to Terrified Pregnant Zombie. On Thursday (one day before my due date) my amazing little Anastasia Lorraine was born via C-Section…and unlike her big sister, she made lots of noise! Almost as if saying “What the heck mom, I wasn’t ready! “ =)   

"I did what I felt I had to do…

After all, that is my TRUE right . . . the right of a mother!" 

As I remember my births, I do still mourn the “loss” of my “birth right” but I have no ill will towards the situation or the persons involved. The doctors, I suppose, did what they had to do.  I know that I did what I felt I had to do…after all, that is my TRUE right . . . the right of a mother! 

ANNOUNCING! During the month of APRIL in honor of Cesarean Awareness Month, you can join ICAN for a reduced rate. Don't miss out. Our parent group, Temecula Valley ICAN site, will make sure that you can take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to save some money until the "change-over" banking details are worked out. Be sure to note that you are in the Inland Empire and they will forward your payment to ICAN of the Inland Empire! JOIN NOW!

Today's blog was brought to you by Andrea Geyer, mother of Emily Isabella and Anastacia Lorraine. With Autumn McClees, Andi is co-leader for ICAN of the Inland Empire. Thank you for sharing your precious story with us, Andi.

Find ICAN of the Inland Empire on Facebook to keep up on the latest events!

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